Last month, we introduced you to three small business owners in Rockton and Troy who appreciate mutuality – giving back to the community that supports them. This month, we visit downtown Galt where we spent time with four policyholders who also focus on making a difference in Cambridge and beyond. Enjoy reading about Central Views Property Management, C’est Cheese Please!, Taleen Jewellers and Goad and Goad LLP!
Omar Kaake & Kayla Zawiski: Heritage Architecture X Modern Community Living
Omar Kaake and Kayla Zawiski believe passionately in preserving the old while creating the new. This is evident in their penchant for restoring heritage designated buildings in downtown Galt. While it might not be the easiest path, Omar and Kayla feel it’s the right thing for their community.
Recently, Kayla and Omar purchased a heritage-designated property in downtown Galt for their own home, a farm within the city, with ambitious plans to use one of the outbuildings as a community space for events and workshops. Their vision is to work with other local businesses to create unique Galt experiences within their own community.
Beyond that, Kayla has enjoyed discovering exciting new life in their gardens and finally having the opportunity to keep chickens!
Omar, and his company Central Views Property Management (named for the view of Central Presbyterian Church across the river from the office), value preservation in their restoration projects.
Central Views Property Management is currently working on restoring two buildings on Main Street that, like the majority of their other projects in the downtown core, will be a combination of commercial and residential spaces. Three local businesses will occupy the commercial spaces with 8 beautiful new apartments above, responding to the desperate need for additional living spaces in Cambridge.
One of the first projects Omar was involved in was the restoration of the Scott Building on Water Street. Though it would’ve been more cost effective to replace the existing structure and materials with newer, cheaper building materials, Omar saw the value in restoring the beauty and unique features of the original. It remains one of his favourite projects to date.
Central Views Property Management is active in the community in many ways. Recently, the company sponsored the K-W Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year awards, held at Tapestry Hall in Cambridge. Over the years, they have donated many historical documents and items discovered during the restoration process of several different projects to The Cambridge Archives.
With each new restoration project that they undertake, Omar and Kayla always put community at the heart – preserving beautiful buildings and bringing business and young people to a revitalized and thriving downtown Galt core.
C’est Cheese Please! Building Community One Dinner At A Time
Wendi Yates, proud owner of C’est Cheese Please! in downtown Galt, is no stranger to change. She’s experienced so much change in her life – having lived all over the globe throughout her life, embracing new adventures and opportunities – that she’s an expert on handling it. The best way: creative adaptability! Perhaps one of the best examples of her ability to roll with the punches is Wendi’s creative thinking in the early stages of COVID-19 to keep her much beloved store operating. Instead of letting seemingly insurmountable change get the better of her, Wendi embraced new and advantageous opportunities by starting a newsletter. Wendi’s newsletter, which started with only a page and a half of names, now reaches over 400 people, and as a result her shop will be celebrating its 13th anniversary this October!
Wendi’s favourite things about Cambridge are foremost the people and the history. Beyond running her store, Wendi also rents rooms to students at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture nearby. She understands the importance of supporting and being supported by her local community.
Apart from having an extensive knowledge of cheeses, Wendi also has great personal philosophies to offer. She believes that people have more in common with one another than not. She is convinced that most conflicts between people could be solved over a good meal. Just as she likes to connect with her clients over a shared love of all things cheese, she understands that food can connect any community.
While Wendi says it’s impossible to pick just one favourite cheese, she does recommend a Charlevoix 1608, a cheese steeped in history, which just so happens to combine two of Wendi’s favourite things. If you’d like to know more about what C’est Cheese Please! has to offer, sign up for the newsletter on the website!
Taleen Jewellers: Golden in Galt
Taleen Jewellers is a family affair started by Garbis Haneshian 42 years ago. It is clear he and his wife, Hasmik, love coming to work each day. Their two daughters inherited their love of the family business, too – Nazeeg, also a jewellery designer, sells her one-of-a-kind pieces in the store as well as online. And both Nazeeg and her younger sister Taleen, who shares her name with the store as well as a beautiful Armenian city, are actively involved in social media and marketing when able to take a break from their own busy full-time careers. They also display Hasmik’s sister’s artwork available for sale. Talent runs long in this family!
Taleen Jewellers sells new jewellery, of course, but also offers custom jewellery design, master goldsmithing and repair work. They create pieces that withstand the test of time, much like their business has. Garbis enjoys bringing his customer’s creative visions to life with the knowledge that they will become treasured pieces handed down from generation to generation.
A steadfast pillar of business in Galt, Taleen Jewellers has built a large and loyal customer-base, first on Dickson Street and now on Ainslie Street. They are great proponents of community. They are long-term members of the Downtown Cambridge BIA and the entire family is also actively involved with the Armenian Community Centre in Cambridge.
Garbis and Hasmik have been loyal clients of Dumfries for nearly 30 years, almost as long as Garbis and Hasmik themselves have been together! Garbis first signed with Dumfries because he liked the small, local, client-focused quality of the company. Indeed that’s one of his favourite parts of his own business – being able to provide excellent service to his clients, their children and even grandchildren. Relationships develop as you participate in some of the most important events in their lives – weddings, baptisms, confirmations, anniversaries and so on.
In his own words, Garbis says that “his business is our business” and we couldn’t agree more.
Goad & Goad LLP: Practicing Compassion and Integrity in Law
In addition to being a full-time Dad and part-time chauffeur, coach, and mentor, Steve Matheson thoroughly enjoys the practice of law and working with the varied and interesting clients of Goad and Goad LLP. Steve has extensive experience representing all kinds of clients, from individuals to businesses to non-profits to municipalities. The name Goad and Goad is a mainstay in the Cambridge area, having provided trusted and practical advice in the community since 1972.
At a recent visit to their office on Cambridge Street in Galt, our old stomping grounds, Steve shared that the firm has a number of multi-generational Business and Personal clients, much like Dumfries. With several hundred business clients, he enjoys navigating through the various challenges faced by corporations such as incorporations, contracts, leases, business purchases and sales, reorganizations and related items. He has worked with generations of families for Wills and Estates and finds it to be very rewarding work. He provides relief and comfort to his clients in what can be difficult and stressful times. Similarly, he particularly enjoys working with first-time homebuyers as they enter an exciting yet unfamiliar new chapter of their lives. Taking the time to understand their clients wants and needs enables Goad and Goad to provide unparalleled service and sound advice.
Steve is an active member of his community outside of work as well, especially when it comes to coaching local youth sports. With a large family, his gracious wife Ann has enabled Steve to volunteer nearly incalculable hours of his time for the past 17 years to coaching hockey and soccer in Cambridge. If you see Steve coaching, or attending one of his kids’ myriads of practices or games, be sure to say Hi!
A special thank you to our amazing policyholders who share our vision. We wouldn’t be the company that we are without you.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog when we feature some of our policyholders in Troy/Lynden/Copetown!